Other than maybe Pete Rozelle, and that’s a maybe, no one had more of an impact on the league than Davis, who died Saturday at the age 82.
He was instrumental in bringing the AFL and the NFL together. He provided a villian to the league, and every sport needs a villian. The Yankees, the Lakers and Al Davis. A nice three-pack.
If you had the opportunity to talk to Davis, it would have been a conversation you would remember for the rest of your life. His mind was as keen as any I have ever met and in covering the Raiders for their last four years in Oakland before they moved to L.A., his team dwarfed every team in the Bay Area.
I’ll miss Al because life in professional sports will be so boring without him. I don’t get much of a thrill anymore of seeing a wide receiver beat his chest like a five-year old everytime he scores a touchdown. That’s false theatrics. Al was the real deal. The only time they would have been guaranteed sellouts at the Coliseum since the Raiders returned from L.A. in 1995, would have been to hold an Al Davis press conference and charge admision.

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